Selfishness has creeped into the church at large! Stubbornness and self-centeredness are prevalent. “I, Me and Self” take the first place. “You think only of yourself but seldom or hardly think of others!” – Have others given such comment to you? For me, I think I have ever received such comment or feedback. Sometimes, I felt that I am rather self-centred and stubborn. We all have our weaknesses which I do recognise them but are we going to excuse ourselves from them instead of addressing them? With God’s guidance and help, we shall overcome our weaknesses. In this perspective, I hope to bring us to the point of knowing how to deal with our mindsets and correct the way we think and the way we do.
Let us see Matthew 6:33. What does it say? In Matthew 6:33, we are instructed to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It did not tell us to seek ourselves first. We are told to seek beyond and above ourselves. We are to be mindful of the Kingdom of God. We are to be mindful of the Righteousness of God. So, it is not “I, Me and Self” mentality. When we seek God’s agenda first, we will include others in that agenda because His agenda includes people. People matters to God. Do you not think so? Let us also see Matthew 22:39. What does it say? In Matthew 22:39, we are instructed to “love your neighbour as yourself.” This reveals that we need to include others. How often do we think of ourselves instead of others? We are not so “others-centred” but more so “self-centred”, right? When we think of others, we are loving others. This verse says similarly that as we love ourselves in that manner, we should also love others in the same manner. Love others as you love yourself! As you do not disregard or mistreat yourself, so likewise, do not disregard or mistreat others. “Thinking of others” is a good attitude which we should all adopt.
Let us see Philippians 2:4. What does it say? In Philippians 2:4, we are instructed this: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This points us towards being considerate towards and for others. His interests and concerns become ours as well. We will not become egocentric when we have others in our considerations. We care for others more than we care for ourselves. It is like denying self. Giving some thoughts for others go a long way to benefit the people around us. We cannot be always inward-looking but be outward-looking.
Do you care only for your own spiritual growth or do you also care for the spiritual growth of others? Have you ever thought of giving or doing Bible Study with those who really need it or hunger for it? You are spiritually well-fed but others are not. Should you not feed others spiritually? We have heard the Gospel and believe and we are in the Kingdom of God. How about those who are outside the fold of God and those who have not heard the Gospel? Do you bother to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to that lost soul over there? “Thinking of others” cause us to re-think what we are currently doing and how we should alter what we have been doing. I am reminded of James 1:22 which states that “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This spurs us into action. We should be a practising Christian. We should practice what we preach. Do not just listen but go beyond listening to incorporating some kinds of action into our listening processes. Let us do what God instructs us to do.
Let me suggest some ways which you can incorporate the application on “Thinking of others” here.
Firstly, you can consider Matthew 6:33 and be mindful of God’s agenda. What does the kingdom of God comprise of? People! Look out for people. Be concerned for people. Be interested in the welfare of people. What do we have that others do not have? Be a cheerful giver! Give of your time, talents, and resources. Get to know people. People matters to God. They matter to you and me too! People needs the Lord just as we need Him. What does the righteousness of God mean? People again! Do what is right in God’s sight. Respect people. Treat people well. Minister to people. Share what God has graciously given to you. Be blessed to be a blessing! What God has blessed you with, you may also bless others with. God will never short-change you. If you honour Him, He will also honour you. The righteousness of God requires the people of God to demonstrate His righteousness to those who are outside the fold of God. Share your faith journey with others. Let them know of the saving grace of Christ Jesus our Lord. Many still have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. You can be a channel of that blessing to others by sharing with them what Christ Jesus has lovingly done for them on the Cross for their sins.
Secondly, you can consider Matthew 22:39 and be mindful of God’s love. Love others with the love of Christ. Look out for others who are in dire needs and reach out to them graciously and lovingly. Spend time with those who are lonely and neglected! Be their faithful friends! Listen empathetically to those who are in despair and are discouraged! Ask God to direct you to those whom He wants you to minister to and pray for.
Finally, let us, as the children of the Living God, always be thinking of others rather than on ourselves alone. Let us be a practical Christian, shining brightly as stars for Him. Amen.
Preacher George Ang
March 7, 2021